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New homeowner gets big surprise, calls police

WEST VALLEY CITY — Doug Clark buys and "flips" homes. On Thursday, however, after opening the garage for the first time on a foreclosed house he had just purchased, he got a little more than he was expecting.

Clark bought a house near 3600 South and 3900 West that had allegedly been vacant for three months, said West Valley Police Lt. Bill Merritt. It isn't uncommon for Clark to simply inspect a house only on the outside and buy it without looking inside, he said.

When Clark went inside the house for the first time just after 1 p.m. Thursday, he found some property that he assumed was left behind by the previous owner. But when he opened the garage, he found a large pickup truck in very good shape with no license plate and many other items, Merritt said.

"There is a very nice scooter that has been dismantled," Clark told KSL-TV. "There is a lot of stereo equipment, two drum sets, numerous racing-car parts, engine parts, lots of rims and wheels and tons of machinery."

"It was a two-car garage and it was packed," Merritt said. "Tens of thousands of dollars (of property) and the truck on top of that."

Clark called police, who discovered the truck was reported stolen out of Sandy in May. All of the other items were assumed to also be stolen, but Merritt said that would be hard to prove unless the owners had their serial numbers written down.

"We just can't prove it because none of it is listed," he said. "The stuff could have been stolen from anywhere."

Detectives believe the items might be a combination of stolen goods and property left behind by the previous owner. Although the house was supposed to be vacant, some neighbors told investigators they had no idea the house was no longer occupied because they had seen so many people coming and going for the past few months.

No arrests had been made as of Friday.

e-mail: preavy@desnews.com